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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Spain Reopens Case Against U.S. Troops for Cameramanís Death in Iraq

MADRID Ė Spainís Supreme Court reinstated on Tuesday a twice-suspended case against three U.S. soldiers for the 2003 death in Baghdad of Spanish television cameraman Jose Couso.

The decision overturns a July 2009 ruling by the National Court that quashed the indictments.

Couso, who worked for the Telecinco network, died on April 8, 2003, when a U.S. Army tank fired on Baghdadís Palestine Hotel, the base of operations for most of the international press covering the war.

Killed along with Couso was Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian citizen.

This marks the second time the Supreme Court has granted motions filed by Cousoís family aimed at forcing the Spanish judiciary to pursue the investigation.

The original probe, led by National Court Judge Santiago Pedraz, resulted in the indictments of U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip de Camps in 2007 on charges that included premeditated murder.

Those charges were quashed by the National Court a year later.

The judge, however, subsequently reopened the case and took sworn statements from Spainís former ministers of defense, Federico Trillo, and foreign affairs, Ana Palacio, that ultimately formed the basis of a decision to re-indict the Americans in May 2009.

Two months later, the National Court again halted the case, acting on a motion from the Spanish Attorney Generalís Office.

The U.S. Army said soldiers thought the people they saw on the roof of the Palestine Hotel were acting as spotters for Iraqis firing on advancing American troops. Organizations representing journalists pointed out that U.S. commanders were aware of the presence of reporters at the hotel. EFE
 

 

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